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Can Effexor trigger or worsen seizures?

My doctor gave me Effexor XR and told me it wouldn't be harmful even though we think I might be having seizures. But I've heard a lot of bad things about antidepressants causing seizures, so I'm worried anyway. Also, it doesn't seem to be helping my depression at all after several weeks of being on it. Could my depression actually be related to my neurological problems?


I started on venlafaxine a

I started on venlafaxine a couple of months ago, 150mg in the morning and 75mg at night, they didn't seem to be doing anything so I spoke to my psychiatrist who upped the night time dose to 150mg then after 2 weeks, 225mg in the morning and 150mg at night. Everything seemed to be going well, my mood improved, I had more energy and enthusiasm but wasn't sleeping as well as I had been before. Yesterday while I was on a quick visit to my work (I'm a registered nurse with almost 6 years experience) I had a massive seizure. Well, when I say "a seizure" now that I have spoken to the very lovely lady who ran over to help me, apparently I went up onto my tiptoes, stiff as a board and fell back, landing on my head. When I came round from the first seizure I tried to get up, I was determined I was going for lunch, only to go straight into a succession of seizures which were all really bad. I have no history of seizures, nor does my family. The only thing it can be is the fact the dose was increased to the max and it just wasn't suitable for me. I dread to think what would have happened if the seizures had been 5 minutes later because I would have been driving.

I don’t even have a history

I don’t even have a history of seizures, but I started having them once I started Effexor. I know this is an old post. I just wanted to add to it, incase anyone happens to be searching for the same answers I’ve been. 

Hi Miranda, I've been taking

Hi Miranda, I've been taking Effexor ER for somwhere over a year. It does a great job helping with my depression issues. Last autumn I began having moments like someone flicked MY 'power switch' off and on. This happened frequently, no matter what I was doing. It lasted for months... Around April I my symptoms changed; they just did. Instead of the switch, is was like a 'woosh' going through my head. It would catch me off guard & the big ones catch my breath. After other testing drew up negative, I got in with neuro. My MRI was clear, but my EEG showed I was having seizures, even while asleep. No convulsions, greatfully. My doc put me on Tegretol for about a month before deciding to ween me from Effexor-after noticing a possible side effect was seizures. I'm almost done weening, but am still seizing. We are HOPING it's the Effexor causing them & discontinuing use will make them stop. But, I'm afraid once a med starts them, can just quitting make them stop?

I too began having seizures

I too began having seizures after being prescribed Effexor XR, along with other medications. The psychiatrist attributed my seizures to anything but the prescribed drugs. I was misdiagnosed as having epilepsy by a neurologist who claimed to not know the specific causation of my seizures. He too never considered them to be caused by brain-altering psychiatric/psychotropic drugs. I had 6 seizures in total. And they changed my life forever. Upon discontinuing all of the prescribed drugs, I have not had a single seizure and have regained my health. It has been 13 months of freedom. Much love.

Like those below me, I too

Like those below me, I too needed to respond to this. I was prescribed Effexor XR in 2005. I was only on it for 3 months. Within the first 2 days of being on the medication, I began getting focal seizures in my head. They would last 15-30 seconds and sometimes came in clusters. I had NEVER had them before being on this medication. After speaking to the doctor, she UPPED my dosage. I was getting 6-8 seizures a night and not getting more than 30 minutes consecutive sleep. I quit cold turkey after 3 months (I don't suggest quitting cold turkey). The seizure activity continued, but the the number lessened as years went by. Now I only get them when I have a couple nights of insomnia in a row. Effexor changes things within your brain, and sometimes on a permanent level. It is dangerous and I would never recommend to anyone. I'm quite certain that it has a harmful effect on the mitochondria. 

Re: Can Effexor trigger or worsen seizures?

Hello Miranda,

I just had to respond to you.....I just joined because I read this post as I am looking fro information on this medication. I had some major issues with this medication, it did make me have seizures. I was seizure free for 5 years I had completly stopped taking all antiepliptic medications while I was pregnant with my daughter BOTH TIMEs (and this was cold turkey, no weekng  off the medication) I really knew my body and understood my limits with my epilepsy and it was not severe then. I suffered post partem after I had my children which is where the Effexor came into the picture. Once the dose reached 225mg is when the problem arose I had one seizure grand mal and two days later I had another one which I ended up in hospital. It was really bad resulting is major injury. Since they have had a very  difficult time regulating my seizures and needless to say it has made my depression worse. So the moral of the storey....yes it has happened to another person out there it is an awful thing I now experience different types of seizures I am not sure if it is a result of injury or what but just get checked out! 

Good luck! 

Hello. I was on 300 mg of

Hello. I was on 300 mg of effexor ex for 1 1/2 years. While the medication did work better than others for my major depression and PTSD, it did cause seizures. I've never had seizures until perscribed the medication, and no family history either. Most seizures happened in my sleep unless it was a month I ran out before insurance would refill, then the seizures were bad, I always felt like I could have one any minute if I went even just 24 hours without. In May my insurance dropped me and I could no longer afford the medication so I had no choice but to come off of it cold turkey. Thankfully I haven't had another seizure since. Reiki has become a safe therapy for me mentally, emotionally, and physically. I highly recommend it. (Also diagnosed with fibromyalgia) 

Re: Can Effexor trigger or worsen seizures?

I believe that Effexor is the cause of all of my seizures and with some help from my new neurologist, I hope to prove that fact.  I will keep you informed with my findings...

Re: Can Effexor trigger or worsen seizures?

I am on 225 of Effexor. I had 2 seizures about a year and a half ago. Then thanksgiving night I had another one. I have been told that Effexor foes lower the seizure threshold. I'm being weened off Effexor!

Re: Can Effexor trigger or worsen seizures?

Hello Miranda~ I take Effexor XR and do have seizures not due to the drug though.I like it and it does seem to help me.I have never heard of anti depressants actually causing seizures...not saying that they cannot,I have just never heard of it.Have you seen a neuro?Has he done any testing on you?He would be the one to ask just to be safe.Good luck and God bless you

Re: Re: Can Effexor trigger or worsen seizures?

I've been seeing a neurologist, but haven't gotten the test results back. He told me Effexor would be safe, a I was on benzos before. I was taking Valium and Xanax, but my doctor chose to stop because thjose can cause withdrawel seizures and he thought they were causing my depression.

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